Tuesday, April 4, 2017


Toby Jones as Lance and Mackenzie Crook as Andy.
Who would have thought the world of metal detecting could be so entertaining? Yet, Detectorists—the title is the proper term for one who detects metals—is an addictive TV series brimming with wit and endearing characters.

The shows focuses on two detectorists: Lance, a middle-aged “fruit and veg” man, and his younger friend Andy, who does odd jobs for a temp agency. Andy (Mackenzie Crook) lives with his cynical girlfriend Becky, while Lance (Toby Jones) still pines for his ex-wife Maggie. Their lives, though, are centered around their shared passion for roaming fields with their metal detectors. Their dream is to discover a buried Saxon ship, but a typical day is filled with finding ring-pulls and miniature cars—and then going to the pub for a couple of pints.

The Danebury Metal Detecting Club.
Lance and Andy belong to the Danebury Metal Detecting Club, better known as the DMDC, whose members are an eccentric group of lovable detectorists. Still, as Lance points out, metal detecting can be dangerous and competition is fierce. That is certainly the case with a rival club known as the Antiquisearchers, which has the advantage of being affiliated with a local museum. Two Antiquisearchers, in particular, pop up occasionally to challenge Lance and Andy and exchange verbal jabs (Lance dubs them Simon & Garfunkel for their resemblance to the singing duo).

"Simon and Garfunkel."
There are many plots weaved throughout the two seasons of Detectorists (e.g., the arrival of a pretty archaeology student, a World War II plane crash, a secret from Lance’s past). However, this is a character-driven comedy and some of the best scenes just feature Lance and Andy taking a break from detecting and discussing the previous night’s quiz show.

Toby Jones has brought to life to a number of memorable characters during his long acting career, to include a stellar turn in the recent Witness for the Prosecution (2016). He’s at the top of his game in Detectorists, creating a quick-witted character that’s sometimes pompous (especially when discussing metal detector models), sometimes vulnerable, but always a sincere and loyal friend.

Mackenzie Crook in The Office.
Mackenzie Crook (Game of Thrones) proves to be the perfect complement as Andy, whose lack of ambition gets throttled with a life-changing event that occurs near the end of season 1. Crook, who first gained fame in the British version of The Office TV series, also created and wrote Detectorists. His scripts feature some laugh-out-loud moments, but much of the humor is derived from the characters and situations. (One of my favorite characters is a mentally-unbalanced farmer who may have murdered his wife and believes he has a pack of invisible dogs--who keep running away.)

The impressive CTX 3030!
It’s unfortunate that Detectorists consists of just two six-episode seasons and a Christmas special. Thankfully, though, more episodes are on the way! Crook announced on March 31st that he had agreed to a third and final season that will be filmed in 2017 and possibly air by the end of the year. While I was hoping for a few more seasons, I’m still excited about the opportunity to spend more time with the members of the DMDC. It’s enough to make me think about purchasing my own Minelab CTX 3030….

Acorn TV is streaming Detectorists in the U.S.

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